The Restorative Power Of Sleep

Everybody agrees that sleep provides health benefits but the discussion is often vague. Well, here is a recent (2013) study from the prestigious journal, Science, thatIMG_0961 found “hidden caves” inside the brain that open up during sleep and allow cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to flush out potential neurotoxins, like β-amyloid. To figure this out, researchers injected mice’s brains with a dye and monitored the flow during 3 conditions – while they were awake, asleep and when they were anesthetized.
One of the study’s authors, Dr Maiken Nedergaard said, “We were surprised by how little flow there was into the brain when the mice were awake. It suggested that the space between brain cells changed greatly between conscious and unconscious states.”
This study suggests that the flushing out of toxins by the cerebrospinal fluid, CSF, may be central to sleep’s marvelous powers. During the day, the CSF stays mostly on the surface of the brain but, during sleep, the CSF is able to move deep inside. It makes sense that the reverse may also be true, that lack of sleep may restrict the brain’s flushing activities and allow toxic metabolites to build up, leading to long-term damage.
Put it in your New Year’s resolutions – more good sleep !!
source: Xie et al., 2013.
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